– By Dave Cliffe
The bond between mother and son is given a whole new perspective in the latest short horror film from directors, Justin Harding and Rob Brunner. Single mom Alana (Alana Elmer) and her young son Bowen (Bowen Harding) escape to a wooded retreat so that Alana can work on her choreography skills and innovative dance styles in preparation for a new stage production back in the big city. However, during their stay, Alana, Bowen and their cantankerous neighbour, played by Peter Higginson, discover something strange in the nearby woods that at first, seems harmless but turns out to be a creature from another world.
Latched debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last month and as a short piece of magical horror, this is something quite special; the concept is quite ingenious – imagine Guillermo del Toro and David Cronenberg, with a twist of The Blair Witch.
The meta-style approach to the feature deserves great credit and works wonders with both the narrative construction and resonating realism in performance; Alana and Bowen are the wife and son of director, Harding. The performance of Alana is standout too; she commands every scene and encompasses confidence and tone in her delivery. The cinematography is well done; elevated camera shots and immersive close-ups draw the audience into the horror that unfolds; the atmospheric music heightens this sense of dread too.
The only major criticism is that the reveal of the entity is too fast and is overtly-revealed early on; using shadows and angles of the entity more, before the big reveal, would have embodied a greater sense of suspense and horror. However, this is a well-accomplished piece of magical body horror; with this genre it is often about the concept and premise of the piece and this one is wholly original, moreover, it deserves a longer story time to develop character and story more – could the entity be of a larger world within the woods?
Let’s hope Harding, Brunner and Elmer get duly-recognised in the coming months when their film features at different film festivals around the word, because Latched is definitely worth checking out. Just don’t see at parent and child screenings; meta could be taken to a whole new other level.